EHC Red Bull Munich has responded to their recent injury misery and signed US-born Blake Wheeler from the Winnipeg Jets (National Hockey League). Wheeler arrived in Munich on November 1 and made his debut for the Red Bulls on November 2 wearing the number 27 in a 3-2 loss after penalties in Düsseldorf.
The 26 year old right winger was drafted at #5 in Round 1 of the 2004 NHL draft by the Phoenix Coyotes. Following three steady seasons in the NCAA college league with the University of Minnesota, he joined the Boston Bruins (NHL) in the 2008/09 season and had an immediate impact. During the 2011/12 season he transferred to the Atlanta Thrashers and was nominated for the US national team, where he delivered 5 scoring points in 7 games (2 goals, 3 assists) at the 2011 World Cup. Following his successful performance at the World Cup, Wheeler was traded to the Winnipeg Jets who were delighted to pick up such a quality player. Wheeler put up 64 points in 80 games (17 goals, 47 assists) in his first season with the Jets.
Due to the current NHL lockout, Wheeler had his eye on the opportunity to play in Europe and was thrilled when EHC and German national coach Pat Cortina got in touch.
"I love the bigger rinks in Europe, having more room on the ice helps my fast paced game", says Wheeler. "I also heard about the great fans and amazing atmosphere at the rinks from other players. I cannot wait for my first home game in Munich", he added.
Wheeler's first home game will be on Sunday November 18th against Augsburg Panthers at Olympia Eisstadion and EHC fans will be hoping he can make the same kind of impact as the one he made in the NHL.